Lora Adams drove by the "For Lease" sign on 5th Avenue in Moline almost every day for months. 

The route was technically out of her way, but she made it a "short cut" on her way home from work. 

For Adams, marketing director at the Quad-Cities PBS station WQPT-TV, the empty storefront looked like the perfect space to open a community theater, which had been her back-of-the-mind dream for years. 

"You ask yourself over and over, "Is this something you're actually going to do or are you just going to keep thinking about?" she said. "At some point, you have to go for it." 

She went for it. 

In October, Adams teamed up with David Miller, who works as a data analyst at Deere & Co., to lease the property and convert the space into what is now The Black Box Theatre. 

Adams hopes the venue adds to the "charming" look of 5th Avenue.

"What I love about this block is that there is so much to do," she said. "On a date night, you can park once and go to dinner, come to a show here and get a drink."

After months of construction work, The Black Box Theatre will open its doors for the first time with a show from the Westbrook Singers at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. 

With just a few days before its first "soft opening" show, the 60-seat theater is still a work in progress. 

There are walls to build, curtains to hang and sound and lighting equipment scattered on the not-yet-finished stage. 

"It's still shaping up, but it's beginning to look like a theater," Adams said. 

Adams, a Chicago native, first arrived in the Quad-Cities to perform at Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse for a role in "South Pacific" in the 1980s. She moved around, owning a community theater in Wisconsin from 1995-2000, before landing back here. 

"The Quad-Cities has so many great venues, so it was never that we needed another one," she said. "Everyone has their niche; some that focus on Greek or Shakespeare or big musicals. I think we're going to be a little bit different and a little eclectic and add something." 

The eclectic season ranges from the musical comedy "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" to the melodrama play "Veronica's Room" to the well-known rock jukebox Broadway musical "Rock of Ages." Adams filled some of the casts with people who showed up to auditions in December and plans to hold open auditions again in the future. 

"There are so many people who are yearning to perform and create and they don't want to do it full-time," she said. "I want to give them a space to do that." 

The theater's grand opening show, called "Murderers," which Adams directs and performs in, premieres Jan. 28. Tickets are priced at $15-18. 

"I don't want this to be my theater; I want it to be open to everybody who yearns to perform and maybe hasn't gone for it," she said. "On every weekend, I want to make sure there is going to be entertainment here." 


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).